Q&A on the News

Q: I saw actor Kevin Costner talking on the news about solving the oil spill with a mechanical device using a spinning technique to separate floating oil layers from the seawater with centrifugal force. The actual sample showed two bottles of clean water and oil residue. Did they try it in the gulf?

-- Ken Kwok, Marietta

A: BP purchased 32 centrifuges from Kevin Costner's company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, more than one month ago, and they were deployed on barges in the gulf after a testing period, The Associated Press reported last month. "Officials said skimmer vessels will pump oily water onto the barge where the centrifuges can process a total of 600,000 gallons a day, separating gunk from water. Costner said he 'didn't come to save the day' but is gratified the technology is being deployed," the AP reported. The Dallas Morning News reported that Costner has invested $20 million into the company.

Q: What happened to Cynthia McKinney in the attempted shipping to break the Gaza Strip embargo?

-- Jean Castaneda, Avondale Estates

A: Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. representative, has been involved in two incidents while on ships taking medical supplies to the Gaza Strip. In December 2008, CNN reported she was on board the Dignity when it was intercepted by the Israeli navy and forced to dock in Lebanon. On June 30, 2009, McKinney was on board the Spirit of Humanity, which was carrying medical supplies and toys, when it was seized by the Israeli navy. McKinney was held for five days in Ramle, Israel, until she was released on July 5.

Lori Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or e-mail q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).